Does protein powder cause hair loss?
Does protein powder cause hair loss? Protein powder does not cause hair loss. On the contrary, it might prevent hair loss.
Protein powder does not cause hair loss.
Can protein powder cause hair loss?
You may have heard that protein powder causes hair loss. This is simply not true. Protein powder hair loss is a myth. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that your protein powder is causing your hair to fall out. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that dietary protein is essential to hair growth and health.
A highly cited 2017 study claims that whey protein isolate can accelerate hair thinning and male pattern baldness. This study was widely circulated on the Internet and referenced by many popular publications. As a result, many people came to believe that protein powder causes hair loss, which is unfortunate because the study in question is utterly biased.
Said study can be discredited without even scrutinizing the methods because the author had a blatant conflict of interest. Dr. Lawrence J. Shapiro, the author, is a hair transplant surgeon who sells a whey protein concentrate formulation called Dr. Shapiro’s Help Hair™ Shake. Dr. Shapiro claims that whey protein concentrate, the main ingredient in his protein supplement, is good for your hair whereas whey protein isolate, the main ingredient in many other protein supplements, is not. Although this could be true, Dr. Shapiro has personal and financial interests that could have (and probably did) bias his work. I have no doubt that he published his “research” to sell more of his own product.
Dr. Shapiro’s study is also the only one of its kind. This matters because one cannot claim conclusive findings solely on the basis of a single study. A study must be replicated – repeated many times over with the same results – before its findings can be considered conclusive. A study that has not been or cannot be replicated may have been faked.
The lesson to be learned here is that we, the customer, have to be skeptical of what we find on the Internet. Many published research findings are biased and false, and are often referenced by popular publications in ways that give them far more credibility than they deserve. This is almost certainly what happened to Dr. Shapiro’s study.
Protein powder might help with hair growth.
Most of what is known about protein intake and hair loss is based on studies about people with a nutrient deficiency. It is safe to say that a protein deficiency can impact hair structure and growth, and that protein supplementation can promote hair growth in individuals who are protein deficient. There is very little research about the effects of protein supplementation in individuals without a nutrient deficiency, however, and it is hard to say to what extent, if any, protein affects hair growth in the average person. Moreover, most of the published studies examine a variety of nutrients, making it unclear what role is played by protein.
That said, hair is made of a protein called keratin and hair follicles are among the most metabolically active cells in the body. Boosting your protein intake, especially if you are not getting enough protein, may therefore help with hair growth. A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the link between protein and hair growth, and concluded that protein supplementation promotes hair growth in women suffering from thinning hair. This is just one study, but it furthers the notion that eating more protein is worth a try if you are trying to grow your hair or slow thinning.
Before you add a protein powder to your diet, however, be sure to do your research. Any type of protein powder can help you boost your protein intake, but not all protein powders are good for you. Here are a few of the top ingredients to avoid when buying protein powder.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives.
Food additives may improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but they can also cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. Basically, because they look nothing like real food, food additives are hard to digest. They therefore sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain.
Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. Over time, food additives can add up (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine. Eventually, this can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein powder, one additive to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome.
Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are poorly absorbed by the gut, meaning they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestines. Now you may finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods like protein isolates are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some of the oil, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder.
If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
drink wholesome is the best protein powder.